Inside. That's the answer.
What's the question? What happened to Bryce and will he ever be BRYCE again?
You see pretty much all last year and through the first three weeks of this year Bryce was an super MVP force. Then it stopped. It's been 3 months now and while we've seen glimpses of the old Bryce and it hasn't been as bad as you might think, he still hasn't gotten back to those levels. He hasn't been close. So what happened?
Some people will claim that it had to do with where he was being pitched. That he was being pounded low, away, and primarily low & away and that was keeping him from hitting. That is true, but the problem with that is he was pitched that way all last year. (All these things are courtesy of Brooksbaseball.net. Go there. Use it. Praise it)
See? I mean he did walk 124 times last year, 50 times in the last 2 months alone. And yet he didn't hit like he is now. So if it's not what he's seeing, it must be how he's reacting to it. Here is where he swung at pitches last year.
He jumped over anything in the strike zone. He was moderately aggressive on pitches over the plate that may have been high or low, less aggressive with some middle zone pitches inside and out. Has this changed at all? Well let's look at how he swung from 4/26 when PETE MACKANIN not Joe Maddon you goddamn sycophants, started the "walk Bryce" craze, through mid June.
In possible reaction to the over-walking Bryce has been a little flummoxed. He let the top of the zone go in favor of turning on anything that he can reach. If it was in, he was going for it. But like almost everyone Bryce's power comes from when he can get those arms extended. Take a look at the isoSLG from last year
Outside of that fluke area up and in it's all out over the plate. HRs per BIP show the same thing. During his down period (and it was a period with a BA around .220 with a .320 SLG - which is bad) Bryce was looking in, turning on inside pitches, but in the end, that's not where his power lay. He may have had some bad luck with the BA but he wasn't going to be BRYCE swinging like that.
So why do I say give him the homestand? Because Bryce has been swinging better recently.
He still might be favoring the inside pitch a bit too much, but he really stopped swinging at pitches off the plate inside. That helps. Next is probably getting back to going after those "arm extended" pitches. He still might be a little gunshy on pitches low but in the zone. He's generated no power from those and he should. This is what I'll be looking for in the homestand; continued taking of pitches on the hands and attempts to drive pitches over the plate at the knees, while not chasing pitches lower and more outside than that.
That sounds hard and it is. What separates the good from the great is understanding the difference between the pitches you can hit and the pitches you can hit well, and adapting your approach to maximize the number of swings on those. That means taking a pitch you can hit that's a strike early in the count to wait for one you might be able to hit better later and taking a walk then if you get nothing else. It means being able to tell the difference between a strike low on the outside corner and a slider that keeps going, Bryce was here in 2015, can he get back to it? Because this is what teams are going to pound him with until he proves he can.